Campbell’s poetry will make anyone blush
- Judith Iron | May 10, 2021
Canoe Narrows, Saskatchewan- If an auntie laughs in the forest can everybody hear? Tenille K Campbell might have something to do with that. Her quick wit, wicked sense of humor and brazen poetry can make anyone blush - even when they’re alone. Sex and romance in Indian country will never be the same after discovering Campbell’s poetry.
Tenille K Campbell is a young Dene Métis woman from the English River First Nation who has just had her second book published. Her first book # Indian Love Poems (2017) paved the way for her 2021 book titled Nedi Nezu: Good Medicine. The theme: Indigenous erotica.
Campbell started writing Indigenous erotica after a difficult break up in her late twenties that left her a single mom to her daughter Aerie. The time came when she realized that she needed to start dating again, but she didn’t know how to do that. When she did have dates, she didn’t have anyone to discuss them with because many of her friends were in committed relationships.
“I started writing because I needed to express myself. I needed to try to figure out what I was feeling,” says Campbell. “I created a safe space for myself where I could write and say what I wanted without guilt or fear.”
Campbell began to pen explicit stories with her poetry. She uses humor and raw honesty in such a way that we can all recognize and empathize with her.
“Indians are such beautiful story tellers. We already know how to tell a story. We already know how to make people laugh. Poetry is just another way of doing that and I wanted to write it the way that felt familiar to how we already speak,” said Campbell.
When Campbell was writing her first book no one knew what she was writing about.
“When Indian Love Poems came out there was big reaction because it came out of nowhere,” says Campbell. “Suddenly there was this sassy tongue in cheek Indian humor book filled with sex and frybread and syrup and everyone was like what the heck?”
Campbell loves the live readings because she gets to see how the audience reacts to her words.
“The audience goes through so many emotions. They blush. They laugh. They nudge and hit each other. Especially the women. I can tell when they really connect with what I’m saying.”
Sweet Moon Photography is another passion for Campbell. About ten years ago Campbell picked up a camera and started taking photos. “It’s just another way for me to express myself creatively,” says Campbell. “I specialize in Indigenous imagery. This year I will still do weddings, grads up north, and family portraits following Covid safety guidelines.”
Campbell says her inspiration comes from the many women she surrounds herself with. She is inspired by her family, her mother, her daughter Aerie, and the many other women she has come to know in her life.
Her challenges? “I feel like I want to do so much more. I have so many dreams and not enough time.”